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How can you select the right research topic as academic researcher?

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If you ever asked yourself this question, you are most certainly not alone! Most researchers wonder the same. Selecting the perfect topic can be very difficult and exhausting. Therefore, we have collected some tips and tricks to help you in your journey of choosing and writing an ideal research topic.

1. The first step you need is to read a lot about a topic of interest to you and establish a familiarity with the branch of knowledge you want your research to fall under. Understand its main themes!

2. Afterward comes a highly-important step: brainstorming and expanding your knowledge. Gather information from different groups of people. Read up on the most recent publications in the field to stay updated!

Identify which topic can display your strength and which topic you can easily understand the issues of and think of ways by which you can approach its solutions, all while try to step out of your writing comfort zone. Choosing the right topic at the beginning will save you a lot of time, so do not rush in this phase.

3. Then an important question should be considered: What are the most recent advances in this specific area of research? Observe what is trending and what is missing, collect information of different events on the context of your topic.

Most authors would resort to navigating the topic and seeking the recent publications on the topic on Google, which in comparison to other databases, pertains the fewest credible sources a research could utilize and cite in his/her work. Of the best 12 databases or websiteس concerned with education and knowledge are the following:

*RefSeek: A search engine that provides academic resources in an easy way. More than a billion sources from books, magazines and news and encyclopedias. (https://www.refseek.com)

*WorldCat: An easy-to-use search engine that searches over 20,000 libraries and contains more than 2 billion sources and you can find the nearest library to you (https://www.worldcat.org)

*Springer Link: It contains more than 3 million sources in various scientific fields such as articles, conference proceedings and edited volumes freely accessible in some countries. (https://link.springer.com)

*Microsoft Academic: It carries extensive research results, content for academics and is constantly updated, and contains more than 120 million publications (https://lnkd.in/e9umjM4P)

*Bioline: A voluntary search engine that collects articles published in scientific journals in developing countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and others. (http://www.bioline.org.br)

*EThOS: Holds more than 500,000 master’s and doctoral theses in all fields. (https://ethos.bl.uk)

*Science.gov: A US government scientific search engine that brings together more than 2,000 scientific websites and contains more than 200 million papers and reliable results. (https://www.science.gov)

*Pdfdrive: The largest and best site to download books in all disciplines in PDF format. It contains more than 225 million books ready for direct download and can be used for different studies (https://www.pdfdrive.com)

* ISEEK Education: A search engine targeting students, teachers and administrators containing reliable materials. (https://lnkd.in/eceHubti)

*BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine): One of the most powerful academic research engines containing more than 100 million scientific documents with 70% of the articles accessible free (https://lnkd.in/eRReeHzS)

Extract features from your subject to get closer to the final idea of what your work will focus on. By then you will be able to narrow down your general subject into a more specific and manageable topic or theme and set of clear objectives and aims. The main idea in this stage is to get super specific, not to focus on the general topic only, but also the main theme of the topic and how effective and beneficial it can be.

5. The next step will be entitling the topics as questions to help you focus, for instance:

  •          What is the main research question? What facts do you have, and what do you need to find the solutions?
  •         How vast is the range of issues the topic can answer? How can you find out more about this topic? 
  •          How much information can you gather for this topic? How effective can the topic be, and in which area will it be effective the most?
  •          How can you answer these questions, how can you involve relevant people, and how can the issue be resolved?
  •         Where does the issue arise? Where does the problem impact?
  •         Who do you want to reach? Who is affected by the problem, and who cares about this topic?

Seek the help of your network of professors and researchers and their opinions. Discuss your first drafts and ideas, and gather as much information as you can. This discussion can extend your thoughts and ideas, help you in the writing process, and lead you to books and articles that will definitely help you trace your citations.

6. Lastly, after settling down on an idea and drafting the outline of your paper, the hardest part is done. Create and arrange a list of ideas for your paper to discuss. Write your aims and goals and plan a timeline of when and how you can perform. All you need now is to transform these ideas, questions, and answers into your research paper.

Now you are ready to write your research proposal, outline your project, and develop an argument for the research topic you are willing to discuss.

For further help as to how you can properly structure your research paper, read up on our previous blog here: https://www.ierek.com/news/index.php/2017/01/21/write-great-scientific-paper/

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